Staffordshire 2017Read more about Staffordshire 2017
This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Staffordshire Police. PEEL is designed to give the public information about how their local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year. The assessment is updated throughout the year with our inspection findings and reports.
The extent to which the force is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the force is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
Read my assessment of Staffordshire Police below, or watch the video.
I am pleased with the performance of Staffordshire Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime, and in particular with the improvement in its effectiveness. However, the force needs to make further improvements to provide a consistently good service.
The force has made good progress in implementing a structured, problem-solving way of working. However, it needs to:
- ensure that victims are updated as investigations proceed;
- manage the risks posed by registered sex offenders more effectively; and
- improve its service to vulnerable people, particularly domestic abuse victims, when officers are unable to attend or when their attendance is delayed.
It has maintained a sound understanding of demand on its services, and its use of resources to manage demand is good. However, it needs to improve its planning for future demand.
The force treats the public and its staff with fairness and respect, although it needs to improve how it ensures its staff behave ethically and lawfully.
Overall I am pleased to see that Staffordshire Police has made progress since 2016 across a number of areas and it continues to improve.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Staffordshire Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force has made improvements since 2016 across a number of areas, and it continues to improve.
The force has an effective approach to preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour. Officers understand what matters to the local communities, and are responsive to their needs; and the force works with other organisations to address such matters and the underlying causes of crime. Since HMICFRS’ 2016 effectiveness report, the force has made good progress in implementing a structured problem-solving way of working.
Staffordshire Police investigates crimes to a satisfactory standard. The force makes good use of intelligence, and the outcomes it achieves are comparable to other forces in England and Wales. However, it needs to ensure that victims are updated as investigations proceed, and it should ensure that suspects are promptly entered onto the Police National Computer (PNC) when this is appropriate.
The force requires improvement in the way it protects vulnerable people. Victims of domestic abuse sometimes receive a delayed response when they contact the force because not enough response officers are available to attend incidents promptly. The force also needs to strengthen its approach to managing registered sex offenders, to protect the public from harm.
The force has improved its approach to tackling serious and organised crime. Its understanding of organised crime groups is good, and it is also better at limiting the harm that such groups cause in communities. Officers take early action to identify individuals who may be vulnerable to being drawn into serious and organised crime or gang activity. The force also works constructively with other organisations to assist in deterring such individuals from criminal activity.
Staffordshire Police has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities, and to respond to an attack requiring an armed response.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Staffordshire Police is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year. The force has maintained a good understanding of demand; its use of resources to manage demand is judged to be good; and it is judged to require improvement for its planning for future demand.
Staffordshire Police has been assessed as good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force has effective methods of understanding the current level of demand on its services and likely changes to demand. However, the basis of evidence from which it draws this understanding is only partially complete. As some calls from the public go unanswered, it cannot reliably quantify the complete demand for its services. Mapping of the main business processes is providing a firm foundation for the force’s proposed new operating model. This will help Staffordshire Police to makes changes and operate more efficiently.
The force is developing its knowledge of the skills and capabilities of both the workforce and its leaders. It has changed the promotions processes, for example, to gear them more precisely towards those skills that the force requires. However, Staffordshire Police could do more to develop talent and open up career opportunities. The force has taken into account both national and local policing priorities in allocating resources intelligently to different areas. It continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to joint work with public and private-sector partners. It is open also to collaborating with other police forces where the benefits of this are clear.
While Staffordshire Police has made significant progress in developing its plans, further work is required. Its plans to secure those savings necessitated by budgetary constraints are not developed fully. The force must make sure that its plans for the future are underpinned by a more accurate understanding of the demands it is likely to face.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Staffordshire Police is judged to be good at how legitimately it keeps people safe and reduces crime. For the areas of legitimacy we looked at this year, our overall judgment is the same as last year. The force is judged to be good at treating all of the people it serves with fairness and respect and at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. It is judged as requiring improvement in the extent to which it ensures its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully.
Although we found some areas for improvement and some developments that had only been introduced recently, Staffordshire Police has been assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
Officers and staff receive training to ensure their interactions with the public are fair and respectful and the new chief constable has emphasised the importance of ethical behaviour. However some officers demonstrate only a limited understanding of certain coercive powers. Independent panels scrutinise a range of information on behalf of local communities, but the force does not routinely refer ethical decisions to these panels for external advice. Similarly, the force has an effective process for monitoring a range of stop and search data, but would benefit from disseminating any learning more widely throughout the organisation. Scrutiny of data on the use of force to identify any trends and organisational learning is not yet an established process.
HMICFRS found that published information relating to chief officers’ gifts and gratuities needs to be refreshed and updated more regularly, and only limited progress has been made in addressing the vetting backlog identified in 2016. Complaint investigators engage properly with complainants and apply Independent Police Complaints Commission guidelines consistently, resulting in a high-quality service. However, the force could do more to promote the complaints process, particularly to those who may have less trust and confidence in the police.
Various established methods are used to secure feedback from the workforce and the force responds well, making tangible changes as a result. Building on the Workforce Wellbeing Charter award achieved in 2016, the force continues to provide a programme of innovative and well-considered wellbeing projects. Promotion processes to select leaders are now far more open and are viewed as fair by the workforce, but further work is required to develop the force’s new talent enablement plan.
How well has the force performed in our other inspections?
In addition to the three core PEEL pillars, HMICFRS carries out inspections of a wide range of policing activity throughout the year. Some of these are conducted alongside the PEEL inspections; others are joint inspections.
Findings from these inspections are published separately to the main PEEL reports, but are taken into account when producing the rounded assessment of each force's performance.
Staffordshire – Joint inspection of police custody – published on 1 August 2017
Abuse of position assessment – Staffordshire Police – published on 5 October 2017